But whereas Scott Long is expected to strike up a bond with Hope Van Dyne (AKA the Wasp), T’Challa will return home to a Wakanda on the brink of war. A power vacuum has opened up following the death of T’Chaka, and it’s up to Chadwick Boseman’s lead character to stake his own claim to the throne – a throne that has already caught the eye of his sworn adversary, Erik Killmonger.
And though Marvel Studios has toyed with a similar dynamic before (see: Iron Man, Ant-Man), Black Panther promises to deliver something truly different, as executive producer Nate Moore tells Cinema Blend that, by the time Ryan Coogler’s spinoff begins, Wakanda is gripped by “political unrest.”
He’s been Black Panther before, but I would say at the beginning of this movie he’s dealing with… it’s shortly after Civil War has ended, so he’s still mourning. There’s unrest in Wakanda. So what he’s dealing with is being the king, making the transition to filling the footsteps of his father. So it’s probably going to feel like it’s more about the political unrest than the superhero initially.
T’Challa, by effect, is the man who would be king, but even he begins to doubt his own place on the throne. Born into entitlement, Chadwick Boseman’s titular lead faces a tall order if he’s to live up to – and possibly emulate – his father’s name, and it’s those questions that will, in time, propel the familial story of Black Panther.
What happens when he goes home? Who rules Wakanda? How does Wakanda now deal with the loss of a king who was a fair king, who people seemed to like? And is T’Challa ready to be the king of Wakanda?
When it comes to the relationship between T’Challa and his peers – think Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and Zuri (Forest Whitaker) – Moore went on to tease the inner conflict threatening to gnaw away at our hero’s confidence.
You do in a way. And I say that because a big part of the beginning of the movie is this adjustment to life without T’Chaka. You see some of the other leaders in Wakanda and how they interact with T’Challa sort of indicates how they feel about him. And I think for him, this is a guy who wasn’t planning to be king anytime soon. So he’s sort of being thrust into a leadership position almost before his time. So he’s not even sure if he’s the right leader for Wakanda.
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther will put T’Challa to the test, then, and with Avengers: Infinity War right around the corner, it’s shaping up to be a huge 12 months for the would-be leader of Wakanda. And after that? A fourth Avengers movie, presumably featuring Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel.